Hidden among more than four million books and documents stacked three stories high, in a room kept a constant 50 degrees with 30 percent humidity, Duke’s Rubenstein Library houses several letters and early edition publications by one of history’s greatest scientists — the British naturalist Charles Darwin.
Born more than 200 years ago today, Darwin famously wrote thousands of letters in his lifetime. You can find several of the handwritten originals at Duke, on topics ranging from how birds moult to the behavior of blow flies.
“I begin to think that the pairing of birds must be as delicate and tedious an operation as the pairing of young gentlemen and ladies,” a 59-year-old Darwin wrote to his bird-loving friend and frequent correspondent John Jenner Weir on April 18, 1868.
Also available is an 1855 copy of Darwin’s firsthand account of the voyage of the Beagle. These and other Darwin writings are available by request at http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/.
Post by Robin A. Smith